Gosh, I love coffee. It’s not just an “I must have caffeine” addiction: I really enjoy drinking it. I love the warmth, the roasty aroma, the cultural routine around “meeting for coffee” and the intimacy that brings. At home, I make a latte every morning. We have this gorgeous old Jura espresso machine that cost us a bloody fortune somewhere around 10 or so years ago, and over the years I’ll easily say it’s made 10,000 cups of coffee, give or take a few hundred. 10,000! That’s a lot. And we drink what I would call an average amount of coffee.
Last week I blogged about CES going green, with several environmental initiatives including using some environmentally friendly carpeting, purchasing of carbon credits, etc. ecochick was impressed. However, the reality is fairly different than the hype. For example, in wandering around the halls, I did not lay eyes on one recycling bin. And with the dry, recycled Vegas air in the convention center, there was a whole lot of bottled water being consumed. Based on my own experience, ALL of these bottles are heading for the landfill.
Any other green initiatives were well hidden on the part of CES. One of the most effective things an organization can do for the environment is to set an example. CES took a few steps, but they really didn’t make a point of telling anyone at the show. This is crucial. When you tell someone the fantastic product you’re using is environmentally friendly, it encourages the consumer who experiences the product to start thinking of environmentally products in a different way, to look at them as viable options instead of “alternative”. CES wasted this opportunity. Why not create environmentally friendly signage in the Central Hall saying “this awesome carpet is recycled?” Why not have huge recycling bins everywhere? Why not have signage in all the food centers saying “the packaging used here is entirely biodegradeable?”
ecochick strives to be positive and bring you news on organizations that are creating positive change for the earth. Unfortunately, in this case, ecochick is bringing out the rarely used ecotwerp label. CES has not only not come through on its own claims of sustainability, it squandered an excellent opportunity to show itself as a trend leader and expose environmentally friendly products at the same time.
EcoChirps! Are things that EcoChick is giving a shout out to. Whether it’s an awesome product like EcoJot pads, a fantastic person, resource or initiative such as TreeHugger, or just someone who made EcoChick smile and do little loop-de-loops in the air, EcoChirps! are handed out readily at the EcoChick nest.
Unfortunately, there are also things that make EcoChick grumpy. EcoChick calls these EcoTwerps. They could be ingredients in products, like Sodium Laureth Sulfate or parabens. They could be environmental policies, like Stephen Harper’s refusal to abide by the Kyoto accord. They could be people who set superbad examples of living green, like North Americans and our addiction to bottled water. EcoChick will not go as far as to say she will poop on their head, but you know she’s thinking it.
“You need to use this shampoo”, the stylist said. “Your hair is a mess.”
Combining insults with sales pitches is a new strategy to me. But I rolled with it.
“It’s really great stuff, really moisturizing. And it’s organic! Just know that because it’s natural, it won’t lather like you’re used to with other shampoos.”
Oooh, thought I. I like the sound of that. I’m going to try this stuff out. Clutching my sample in my hand, I dash out the door.
Soon after, I eagerly tore the slippery package open in the shower and squeezed out the shampoo. It smelled fresh and light; very clean. I rubbed it in my hands then on to my hair. Unfortunately, the combination of my amount of hair (lots), the Bumble and Bumble sample size (tiny) and the lack of lather (none), I had a problem with coverage across my whole head. I did my best. It rinsed out easily. Then I applied the (again too little) conditioner. Then I towel dried and let it go on its own.
Results? My strawlike hair does seem softer and smoother. It’s nice stuff.
However, the organic and natural claims are pretty much just that: Claims.
Out of 37 ingredients listed, four are certified organic (Jojoba Seed Oil, Aloe leaf extract, Cucumber extract and Chamomile extract.) The rest are the same chemical concoctions we all know and love, including Sodium Laureth Sulfate (that nice cheap lathering agent that also unfortunately dries the living daylights out of whatever it washes) and yummy parabens (see the full product breakdown here.
Verdict: It’s a really nice product, and it’s really not eco-friendly whatsoever.
… that people have an environmental conscience.
… that people want to do the right thing.
… that people want to spend their money wisely.
… that consumers are discerning and want high quality products.
… that we should hold the products we use every day to a higher standard.
… that we need to ask every day whether products we use are healthy and sustainable for us and for our environment.
… that quality does not only encompass the consumer use of the product, it also extends to the manufacture and disposal of the product and all of its components.
… that organic, natural, healthy choices should not be branded as “alternative”.
… that smart consumers want both style and substance.
… that consumers, given the choice, will choose the product that is better for them and for their environment.
… that if we demand that manufacturers give us healthier, sustainable, high quality products, they will deliver.
… that we can have it all.